The pandemic of 2020 precipitated an immediate and dramatic shift toward remote work. Among the many downstream impacts of this shift was an explosion in software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. It’s estimated that the average number of software platforms used by small-to-medium-sized businesses during this time went from six to 120!
What else increased as a result of this explosion? For starters, the complexity of the software evaluation, sourcing, and procurement processes. The increased supply and demand for solutions made it more difficult to select the right tool at the right price point to match the needs of the business; it also became more challenging to avoid duplicative tools and manage the lifecycle of software to reduce waste and maximize value.
Exposure to risk also increased with the proliferation of cloud-based SaaS offerings, each of which is a potential attack vector for cybercriminals. Under these circumstances, organizations need a way to reduce the chaos of procurement and a simpler, faster, more powerful way to assess the security risks in their third-party ecosystem.
Luckily, the Whistic+Tropic partnership is designed specifically with these challenges in mind.
What is the Whistic+Tropic Partnership?
Tropic is a leading spend-management platform that combines industry-leading SaaS research with the data-driven insights, visibility, and control to tackle the procurement and software-management processes with confidence. Tropic’s services include:
- Access to the industry’s largest, bias-free supplier database for benchmarking, software alternatives, purchasing trends, and price increases
- Automation capabilities for purchase approval and vendor onboarding workflows
- Unified SaaS, contract, and spend management in a single platform
- Analytics tools to measure efficacy and maximize savings
But the ability to assess and manage security risk is another critical aspect to consider when making software buying decisions and going through procurement. That’s where Whistic’s AI-powered, dual-sided third-party risk management platform for SaaS buyers and sellers delivers as the perfect complement to Tropic’s offerings.
The Whistic+Tropic integration makes it easier for Tropic users to evaluate and assess the security posture of a potential vendor earlier in the process. By utilizing information in the Whistic Trust Catalog—including security documentation for thousands of vendors — buyers can quickly identify which third-parties align with their risk strategy or compliance needs. Users can even spot security-first vendors at a glance, because their information will include a Whistic badge.
The Whistic integration also makes it possible for Tropic suppliers to share data with Whistic, so buyers can dramatically reduce friction in the security assessment process, taking the time necessary to conduct an assessment from weeks or months to hours or (with new AI capabilities like Knowledge Base and Smart Response) even minutes.
How Alignment Between SaaS Management and TPRM Impacts the Business
In a recent Whistic survey of more than 500 cybersecurity and risk leaders, 96% of respondents said they were more likely to buy from a vendor that was transparent about their security posture. That speaks to a consensus among the security community that the ability to easily identify risk factors in their supply chain ought to be a consideration during the buying process.
But there’s a perspective missing from that analysis: Procurement.
That’s not to say that security isn’t already an important factor for Procurement teams. But, for many companies, procurement and TPRM are viewed and even operate as separate silos. At best, InfoSec and Procurement view one another as a necessary cog in their own processes: Procurement understands security-assessment hoops must be jumped through, while InfoSec (sometimes grudgingly) accepts they must occasionally drop what they’re doing and respond to security questionnaires.
The Whistic+Tropic integration allows more seamless alignment between these two functions, with huge benefits for both “sides” and for the business, including:
1. Stronger governance and oversight of third-party risk
One of the first steps in building a strong TPRM program is governance strategy. Governance allows for clear lines of communication, responsibility, and accountability to reduce the risk of costly security breaches and to ensure regulatory compliance.
Building strong TPRM governance is a team sport, and it begins with a steering committee that should include (among others) Procurement. A steering team that meets regularly gives risk teams greater clarity on the organization’s software roadmap and gives Procurement insight into security, compliance, and risk needs that should be a part of software evaluation. This collaboration can also help to develop clear metrics for measuring and reporting success.
2. Increased visibility of the internal SaaS ecosystem
You can’t protect what you can’t see. It’s never been easier for individual business units to add new software tools on their own (I didn’t ask for permission, for example, to add Evernote to my work computer). This kind of “shadow IT” can leave lots of hidden pockets of risk scattered across the business.
SaaS management tools like Tropic shine a light into the shadows. They can assist InfoSec with data mapping so they know what to protect and how. Plus, great SaaS management can spot duplicative or redundant solutions in your toolset, so it can save you money and streamline processes while protecting against risk.
3. Unified processes
Part of the reason that Procurement and InfoSec occasionally operate in silos is that they have no centralized place to collaborate or easily share information. This leads to separate, sometimes redundant, workflows.
By integrating Whistic with Tropic, users have a de facto centralized platform for collaborating, sharing, and managing both risk and procurement.
4. Opportunities for automation
Centralization reduces friction between Procurement and TPRM, but it can lead to even bigger leaps in efficiency through automation. Whistic’s powerful AI engine automates the security assessment questionnaire process for buyers and sellers, while Tropic’s platform automates workflows like approvals and onboarding. The integration makes it easier to combine these automation opportunities.
5. Fine-tuned risk policies
InfoSec teams have specific criteria for understanding and assigning risk to a given software or third-party. These criteria make it possible to rank risks uniformly— which in turn helps properly allocate InfoSec resources, continuously monitor the right risks, and determine the right schedule for security audits or reassessments.
To develop an accurate (and functional) risk ranking rubric for new software, InfoSec must understand what systems that third-party will have access to, what kinds of data it will access, in what volumes, and how critical the software is to the business. Strong collaboration with Procurement can help them understand these details early in the process.
But it’s not just about developing the right risk ranking criteria. By working closely with Procurement, InfoSec can better understand the business needs that lead to a software purchase. This can in turn help InfoSec to adjust the overall risk tolerance of the business and weigh risk more accurately against the rewards. It can also help security teams focus their (often limited) resources on the right monitoring and remediation activity.
It’s a two-way street. InfoSec can also be extremely valuable to Procurement by helping develop contract language for necessary security controls in both third and fourth-party relationships.
Ready for More Efficient, Stronger SaaS Management and TPRM? It’s Time for Whistic+Tropic
Smart investments in strategic technology will always be essential to the ongoing health of your business. It can sometimes feel like the tradeoff is greater complexity and more risk — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Whistic’s dual-sided third-party risk management platform is the fastest, most efficient way to bring both software buyers and software sellers together to assess risk, manage risk, and build trust without bogging down Sales, InfoSec, IT, and Procurement. When combined with Tropic’s SaaS-management platform, you can invest in the right technology with confidence — and without the complexity or additional risk.
If you’re a Tropic and Whistic customer, you can access the Whistic integration today. Not a Whistic customer, but hoping to master your TPRM program? Schedule a 1:1 consultation with our team to get started with your FREE Whistic Profile. We’ll make sure your free Profile is configured to your specific needs and answer any question you have. No pressure, nothing to lose.
When it comes to streamlined, unified SaaS management and TPRM, the wait is over. Get started today!